The DBA Interview Part Two: Interviewing a DBA Candidate

Posted: January 14, 2015 in Basic Necessities, Interviewing

If you are reading this, you have been a DBA for awhile and your company is expanding. Congratulations!

This morning, I had the privilege of interviewing someone in a different department than I work in. They are losing their DBA and my supervisor suggested I work with their director to interview some possible candidates. I am by no means an expert in this category. The last person I helped interview was hired despite my recommendation that we keep looking. I have learned a lot about people and databases since then so here goes.

Prepare the day before

Study the job description(JD) and the candidate’s resume. Is the job description accurate for what the position entails? This sounds funny but this is a necessity. Many times, the job description is a summary of the skill-sets of the outgoing candidate. This person may have been junior when they started but developed their skills over time with the company. If it is not 100% accurate, it is a good idea to let the candidate know beforehand.

Are they a good fit on paper? If their resume does not match up to the JD, should they even be invited to the interview? Chances are, they have already been screened by management or HR but it is still a question that should be asked.

Prepare a list of questions to ask. Use the candidate’s resume and the JD to form a list of ten questions or so that ensure their resume is accurate and they are truly qualified and interested in working for this oraganization.

Arrive early to the location

I was a bit too early to the meeting. There was no one at the receptionist desk to let me into the conference room. That was just fine with me. I went back down to the lobby and waited for the director to show up.

The Interview

Try to make the candidate feel at ease. Nervousness is normal so it is good to take this out of the equation if possible. If you have your list of questions in front of you this should be the easy part. Take notes as they answer the questions so you can compare their answers to the other candidates. Make sure the questions on paper are consistent throughout the interview process.

Ask a couple of tailored questions as the interview progresses. Ask specific questions about their answers that probe deeper than the typical “I like this type of operating system.” Why do you prefer this OS?

Follow Up

In my case, I am not the final decision maker. If you are the one that gets to let the candidate know which direction the organization is going, let them know as soon as a decision is made. If the candidate really wants the job, they probably won’t be able to breathe until they know where they stand. Even if you interview 100 candidates, take the time to write a quick email to each of the candidates. This says a lot about your character.

Good Luck!!

Thanks for reading,



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